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Most used car buyers have been online before they ever walk into a car dealership or contact a private seller. This new trend has been particularly difficult for car dealers, who have been forced to adapt (some kicking and screaming) by building an Internet sales department, re-directing advertising budgets, and reconsidering how they price their vehicles.
Dont tell them I said so, but many large auto dealers do a poor job of marketing their vehicles online. They know a lot about print advertising, but fewer buyers are looking in newspapers or auto/shopper magazines and why bother? They're out of date by the time they're delivered. The cars pictured may have been sold before the paper went to press!
Many "old school" car dealers simply haven't figured out the New Rules for effectively marketing their vehicles online. Unfortunately for them, they wont get a second chance to create a first impression.
If professionals are having a difficult time staying ahead of the learning curve, private sellers shouldn't feel bad if they are not clear on how to effectively sell their car, truck, or SUV on the Internet. Whether you use sites like AutoTrader, Cars.com, Craigslist, or Kijiji, if you don't follow the New Rules of online selling, your phone won't ring.
The New Rules
1. Bold Headline
First, the subject line has to grab attention away from all the competing ads and for some models there may be hundreds posted.
2. Detailed Information
The text must be clear and concise, specifying all the information a buyer cares about in order to determine if your vehicle is worth the time to look at.
3. Personal Touches
Personal touches will sweeten your posting - information that only someone who cared about the vehicle would know. These make the seller seem trustworthy. Emphasize the positive AND tell the truth about the condition of the vehicle.
4. Specific Photos
Seeing the features and accessories that your buyer is looking for will catch her attention.
5. Video Walk Around
Finally, the secret weapon that induces someone to drive long hours to see your car is the video walk around. Its a simple tool I love to use, even if my customers in the neighborhood, and it's easy to put together. The video walk around builds an enormous amount of trust and rapport between buyer and seller, providing a load of information quickly. I know the video walk around sealed the deal for my buyers even before they came over to see the car.
The New Rules of selling your car online can be found in my new book, HELP! I Gotta Sell My Car NOW! New Rules for Selling Your Vehicle Online. I also include best practices from car dealers, including how to:
Free photo layouts for all the major online classified Web sites (AutoTrader, Cars.com, Craigslist, Kijiji, etc.) can be found on my website at BayAreaCarGuy.com/photos. Examples of how to record a video walk around are at BayAreaCarGuy.com/video.
L. James Johnson is the author of the new book, HELP! I Gotta Sell My Car NOW! New Rules for Selling Your Vehicle Online! He provides FREE tools for selling your vehicle online at BayAreaCarGuy.com.